[ffii] 2000 IT bosses say NO to EU software patents, call for rejection of McCarthy software patent directive proposal

Hartmut Pilch phm at a2e.de
Mon Jun 23 09:59:47 CEST 2003


    2000 IT bosses say NO to EU software patents, call for rejection of
                McCarthy software patent directive proposal

                  Brussels, Munich, Amsterdam 2003/06/22

                           For immediate Release

   A "Petition for a Free Europe without Software Patents" has gained
   more than 150000 signatures. Among the supporters are more than 2000
   company owners and chief executives and 25000 developpers and
   engineers from all sectors of the European information and
   telecommunication industries, as well as more than 2000 scientists and
   180 lawyers. Companies like Siemens, IBM, Alcatel and Nokia lead the
   list of those whose researchers and developpers want to protect
   programming freedom and copyright property against what they see as a
   "patent landgrab". Currently the patent policy of some of these
   companies is still dominated by their patent departments, who have
   intensively lobbied the European Parliament to support a proposal to
   allow patentability of "computer-implemented inventions" (patent newspeak
   for "software", i.e. algorithms and business methods described in
   terms of generic computing equipment), which the rapporteur, UK Labour MEP
   Arlene McCarthy, backed by "patent experts" from the socialist and
   conservative blocks, is trying to rush through the European Parliament
   on June 30, just 13 days after she had won the vote in the Legal
   Affairs Committe (JURI).


   -> [11]Eurolinux Petition for a Software Patent Free Europe
   -> [12]FFII: Software Patents in Europe
          For the last few years the European Patent Office (EPO) has,
          contrary to the letter and spirit of the existing law, granted
          more than 20000 patents on computer programs, or, in patent
	  newspeak, "computer-implemented inventions", i.e. rules of
          organisation and calculation framed in terms of generic
          computing equipment. Now Europe's patent community is pressing
          to codify this practise into a new law. Europe's programmers
          and citizens are facing considerable risks. Here you find the
          basic documentation, starting from a short overview and the
          latest news.

   The European Parliament parliament's plenary will decide on a draft
   report on the European Commission's software patentability directive
   proposal COM(2002)92. Hartmut Pilch explains on behalf of Eurolinux,
   an alliance of associations and companies from all European countries
   and all sectors of the European software industry:

     If the European Parliament accepts this report, even with
     amendments, it will not only find itself in complete contradiction
     with public opinion, as expressed in the largest online petition on
     IT matters which the world has seen so far. It would also be in
     contradiction with its own proclaimed aims. The result of passing
     the McCarthy Directive Proposal would be that "Amazon One Click
     Shopping" indisputably becomes a patentable invention, and that
     more than 20000 broad and trivial software and business method
     patents, which have been granted by the European Patent Office
     (EPO) against the letter and spirit of the written law, will no
     longer be contestable in court, except with rock-solid evidence of
     prior art.

   "Now it is up to the European Parliament to decide on a highly
   controversial proposal for a directive for software patents. The JURI
   proposal aims at improving clarity. It should have at last defined
   clearly what is patentable and what not. But in reality it is a bunch
   of magic formulas that even legal experts do not understand. In
   particular for small and medium sized software developers it is a
   disaster. A patent infringement claim can ruin such a company. It is
   to be hoped that the European Parliament understands this if they vote
   about the proposed directive in a few days." says Reinier Bakels from
   the Insitute for Information Law of Amsterdam University, author of a
   parliament-ordered study, which JURI chose to ignore completely. Dr.
   Karl Friedrich Lenz, professor of European Law in Tokyo, comments:

     If the European Parliament follows JURI in ignoring public opinion
     and all scientific studies, we will see large license payments from
     the European to the American software industry, lots of litigation
     based on software patents, Internet patents and business method
     patents, and some very unfavorable effects for open source
     software. And introducing a large number of new monopoly rights in
     the information society sector certainly won't help with the EU
     strategic goal "to become the most competitive and knowledge-based
     economy in the world."

   see also [13]JURI votes for Fake Limits on Patentability

Statistics of signatories

  By profession / position in company

   Since the wording in the entry "profession" is free for everyone to
   chose, aggregation was difficult. We can only state minimal numbers

   position number (minimum)
   company owner, chief executive (CEO), managing director 2000
   CTO, head of IT, head of R&D 2100
   programmer, software/system architect/engineer/designer/analyst 23000
   scientist, researcher etc 2600
   professor (mainly computer science, mathematics, physics) 400
   lawyer 180

  By country

                               Germany     29773
                                France     27047
                                Spain      13120
                                Italy       9673
                            United Kingdom  9385
                               Denmark      5141
                             Netherlands    5041
                               Belgium      4587
                                Sweden      4355
                                Poland      3195
                               Austria      3262
                             Switzerland    3090
                               Finnland     2732
                               Czechia      1503
                                Norway      1497
                               Hungary      1386
                               Portugal     1128
                               Ireland       911
                                Greece       563
                              Luxemburg      287

  By company

   Below you find the number of employees of some major companies and
   institutions who signed the petition. Note that 2/3 of the signatories
   did not specify their employer.

                              [17]Siemens                231
                               [18]CNRS                  220
                                [19]IBM                  156
                               [20]INRIA                 114
                       Cap Gemini Ernst & Young          108
                              [21]Alcatel                 99
                            France Telecom                97
                             [22]Ericsson                 94
                                 Epita                    92
                         Hewlett Packard (HP)             85
                   Helsinki University of Technology      78
                               [23]Nokia                  74
               RWTH Aachen (Aachen Technical University)  78
                                 SuSE                     67
               ETH Zurich (Zurich Technical University)   61
                          Deutsche Telekom AG             59
                         [24]Sun Microsystems             58
                        University of Cambridge           56
                              [25]Philips                 54
                        University of Helsinki            53
                                  EDS                     50
                                Compaq                    42
                                [26]SAP                   44
                          ST Microelectronics             42
                              Telefonica                  31
                                Steria                    30
                         Politecnico di Milano            29
                                 CERN                     29
                           Oxford University              29
                               Motorola                   29
                                  ABB                     28
                                Renault                   28
                                Lucent                    27
                                Nortel                    37
                                Alcôve                    26
                              ATOS Origin                 59
                               Belgacom                   25
                               Getronics                  25
                              Transiciel                  23
                                Nevrax                    23
                                Red Hat                   32
                             Cisco Systems                21
                              innominate                  21
                              [27]Thales                  21
                            DaimlerChrysler               20
                                altran                    20
                               T-Systems                  20
                                 EADS                     19
                                  BMW                     19
                                 BULL                     19
                               mobile.de                  18
                               Accenture                  18
                              Sema Group                  17
                              Air France                  16
                                Alplog                    15
                                 Sony                     15
                                Telecom                   15
                               Lufthansa                  15
                             Schlumberger                 14
                             [28]Microsoft                14
                          Andersen Consulting             13
                                Oracle                    13
                                 Intel                    13
                                Amadeus                   13
                                Epitech                   13
                               Vodafone                   13
                                 AT&T                     12
                            British Telecom               12
                                Unisys                    12
                                  NCC                     11
                           debis Systemhaus               21
                               Infineon                   11
                                Mobilix                   11
                       Fujitsu Siemens Computers          11
                               KPNQwest                   10
                                 Atrid                    10
                              Easter-eggs                 10
                                 Bosch                    10
                 SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd.    10

Media Contact

          media at ffii org

          Hartmut Pilch +49-89-18979927

   More Contacts to be supplied upon request

About the Eurolinux Alliance -- www.eurolinux.org

   The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an
   open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations
   united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture
   based on copyright, open standards, open competition and open source
   software such as Linux. Corporate members or sponsors of EuroLinux
   develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses
   for operating systems such as GNU/Linux, MacOS or MS Windows.

About the FFII -- www.ffii.org

   The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
   non-profit association registered in Munich, which is dedicated to the
   spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of
   public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open
   standards. More than 200 members, 180 companies and 12000 individual
   supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public
   policy questions in the area of software property law.

URL of this Press Release


Annotated Links

   -> [29]CEC/ETLA 2002: Technology policy in the telecommunication
          sector -- Market responses and economic impacts
          This study may explain while so many employees of telecom
          giants and related companies support the Petition for a Free
          Europe without Software Patents.


  11. http://petition.eurolinux.org/
  12. http://swpat.ffii.org/index.en.html
  13. http://swpat.ffii.org/news/03/juri0617/index.en.html
  17. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/siemens/index.en.html
  18. http://www.cnrs/
  19. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/ibm/index.en.html
  20. http://www.inria.fr/
  21. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/alcatel/index.en.html
  22. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/ericsson/index.en.html
  23. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/nokia/index.en.html
  24. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/sun/index.en.html
  25. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/philips/index.en.html
  26. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/sap/index.de.html
  27. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/thales/index.en.html
  28. http://swpat.ffii.org/players/microsoft/index.en.html
  29. http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/cec-telecom02/index.en.html
  30. http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html

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